- It doesn't really take that much time. If you're making dinner anyway, just make a little more of it (as long as it is something that will freeze well). This helps with the leftovers, as well...hubs and I don't mind eating the same thing for days in a row, but I know that's not for everyone, and I never really got the hang of cooking for any more than a large crowd, so I usually make enough to freeze anyway. Actually planning meals out that way just makes a little more sense.
- Are you busy? Shocker, you are! So for nights when you really don't want to do more than take something out of the freezer and turn the oven on, you won't have to. Like, say, nights when your kids have a million practices, or you have meetings, or like nights when my husband has guitar lessons until 830 at night so me and Stenni eat crap like Chef Boyardee but don't want to force-feed him whatever garbage we've been eating? If you have even one full meal frozen, nobody's stopping for fast food, and upon the first "I'm hungry" whine, you've got it covered.
- Sometimes people get sick. Sometimes they get injured. Sometimes they just get bummed. Or you get a last-minute invitation to an event and don't have time to make anything (or for some reason can't or don't want to!). If any of these things happen to you or even a friend, you don't have to worry about cooking, which is honestly the last thing you want to worry about when you've got a million other things going on. Last year I made WAY too much cheesecake for Easter. Now I know you're thinking, there's no such thing! I used to think that too, but trust me, if I couldn't tackle the whole thing, it was too much! So I triple-wrapped the leftover half in cling wrap, then double-wrapped it in aluminum foil, and stuck it in the back of the freezer. When I got invited to a last-minute early spring, can't-believe-the-weather's-so-nice BBQ, I had something to thaw and bring and I didn't even have to run out to the store. Boo yah. (PS, people always appreciate gifts of food. Always. Don't ever forget that.)
- I'm kind of a "prepper," not in the way that I have a million cans of gas stored and a bug out plan for every situation, but in the way that I like to have things made and stored in case of an unforeseeable emergency. Last year after the hurricane, we were totally able to feed people who helped us do manual clean-up labor around the house (things like chainsawing branches, taking tree limbs off the deck, moving giant tree pieces away from our front door so we could get out of our house, inspecting our roof for damage, that kind of fun post-hurricane, need something to do when the electric is out for 2 weeks stuff). It was like bartering, only also like a fun giant BBQ, and nothing from our fridge or freezer really went to waste even though we ended up going through most of it.And since everything I stick in the freezer as a meal is already cooked, all I need to do is thaw and/or heat (which can be done on a charcoal grill if needed).
- 1 1/2-2 jars "veggie" pasta sauce (or like, a big bag of the homemade stuff. You know how we do)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 pint ricotta cheese, use any kind you like!
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 T. Italian seasoning
- 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc. (any green you like, really), thawed and drained
- 1-2 cups assorted other vegetables, chopped (I like to use green peppers, mushrooms, grated carrots, whatever I have on hand really. If you have leftover canned pumpkin, use a little of that too, it makes it creamier)
- 1/2 cup Parmesean or Asiago cheese (or more if you want. There are no hard and fast rules on cheese, people)
- 8 oz grated (or 1 small ball diced fresh) mozzarella cheese (again, or more)
- 8-10 "no-boil" lasagna noodles
- fresh basil leaves (optional, but best if you aren't going to freeze it)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a disposable foil lasagne pan (or 13 x 9 pan).
- While oven is heating, get out your "big bowl" and combine eggs with ricotta, salt, Italian seasoning, greens, vegetables, and 1/4 cup of your Parmesan/Asiago (or half of it, if you'd like to use more than the 1/2 cup. No judgement here).
- Cover bottom of pan with pasta sauce, enough so that you can't see any metal/glass showing through. Start with a layer of lasagne noodles, top with ricotta/veggie mixture, then follow with mozzarella. Repeat these layers again starting with the sauce, then throw the rest of the Parmesan/Asiago on top when all the other ingredients are used up (you should have at least 2 layers). If you have alittle more mozzarella, or some sliced fresh stuff, you can put that on top too. Some fresh basil leaves wouldn't hurt either, but they don't freeze as well, so stick to the fancy stuff only if you're serving it immediately.
- Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. If you are eating it right then, let it cool for a few before you bite into it so that it has time to solidify and un-molten itself. if you plan to freeze the dish, cool it completely (1-2 hours), wrap with another layer of foil, and freeze for later use.
- To eat/serve later, just thaw in fridge (overnight or all day) and heat on 350 until warmed through.